I'm going to tell you a story. I'm going to tell you about what I learned about the problem with Muslims in this country and how it has affected me as a human and an American. I'm going to share with you what I learned about myself and the impact that this knowledge will have on me for the rest of my life.
The other day, I was counting software near the photo lab in the department store where I was working at the time. (For those who don't know, I work for a third-party vending company in major retail outlets in Northern Utah.) So, there I was, counting away, when I heard a happy commotion at the photo counter, about ten or so feet from where I was standing.
A beautiful young family was trying to get a passport photo of their baby. Dad was holding the baby, his longish dark hair falling into his eyes, forcing him to toss his head occasionally to remove it. The baby couldn't have been more than three or four months old. She was still at that stage where holding her upright turned her into an adorable, chubby little ball of preciousness. Big brother, about four years old, was pacing in a circle around mama, obviously bored and completely oblivious. Mom was holding up an off-white, fleece throw blanket as a backdrop for the passport photo. Her eyes smiled every time the store employee tried to get a clean shot of the baby's face. She giggled as he snapped his fingers more than the camera shutter, hoping to gain the baby's attention just long enough.
I don't know if she was smiling, although I assume she was based on her eyes and her laughter. I don't know because I couldn't see her nose or her mouth behind her veil. She wore a Niqab, which is a Muslim head scarf that covers the hair and exposes only the eyes of the face. She was not wearing an entire Burqa or Chador (the full body coverings), but a scarf that covered her face more than a Hijab, which only covers the hair. The garment was strikingly beautiful.
The family was strikingly beautiful.
That was my first thought when I saw them. That they were having such a good time trying to get a simply photograph of their new baby so they could take a trip "back home," perhaps to see family. They wanted, I'm sure, for Grandma and Grandpa to meet their newest grandchild, as any new family would.
My next thoughts were a bit more troublesome. No, I didn't immediately think that they were going home to plan some horrid attack or to radicalize their children. I simply wondered where they were going. Were they going to London where perhaps their extended families have settled? Or are they going to Pakistan or Iran or Iraq? Maybe they are from Afghanistan and came here as refugees to escape the horrible conditions they may have endured. Or maybe, not. Maybe they weren't "escaping" anything, and just happened to relocate here for work. Maybe they are living here temporarily and someday they plan to return home. Maybe, this is their new home.
Where were they going? I have no idea, but my final thoughts were the absolute worst. What if, because of where they are going, where they are from, they are prevented from coming back to their home here in the United States? If there is going to be deeper scrutiny of individuals who come from or have traveled to certain countries, what will happen to this family if they are from, or happen to visit one of these countries? What if their original vetting "doesn't hold up?"
All I could think about is this happy, young family whose entire life could be uprooted simply for introducing their new baby to their parents. I never assumed that they were going to cause harm, but I couldn't keep from thinking about how bigotry and hate, the same bigotry and hate espoused by the extremists, could exile this family and take away everything they'd worked so hard to achieve.
I have learned that it is possible to make a conscious choice to see the good in all people. I have learned that it is possible to dissuade hate and fear. I have learned that, on my path toward peace and serenity, that I have made the decision to choose love.
I hope that young family experiences all of the love they so obviously have within themselves to give.
Happy holidays and God bless us, everyone.
Amazon Best Selling Author Marjorie Jones is an accomplished romance novelist and professional writer. Born in Rhode Island to a Naval Aviator and a proud Homemaker, she currently resides in Utah with her wife, Becky, and the last of their shared seven children; the twins, Thing One and Thing Squared. The others have all flown the coop.